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DOCUMENT is pleased to present Supports/Surfaces: Objects of Knowledge, which features historical and recent work by Louis Cane, Noël Dolla and Claude Viallat. These three artists were members of Supports/Surfaces, a shifting group of some twelve painters, many of whom hailed from the South of France, who began collaborating and showing together in 1966. Central to Supports/Surfaces was the systematic interrogation (and, in many cases, separation) of the medium’s constituent components: paint, canvas, and stretcher. The group showed both within art institutions and in outdoor, sometimes remote locations, distributing their paintings in the landscape with guerrilla idealism. The group was influenced by radical thinking from various, even oppositional quarters, matching the utopian dreaming of May ‘68 with the uncompromising critical theory of Louis Althusser and the Tel Quel group. Supports/Surfaces artists devised signature approaches even as they actively sought common strategies. Viallat stenciled kidney bean-like forms into grids on unframed and unstretched canvases that could be hung on a gallery wall, the middle of a room, or outside in public space. Dolla’s Tarlatanes, strips of painted canvas hung from the ceiling, played on Barnett Newman’s modernist “zips,” liberating them from all constraints–yet he also made a point of painting on everyday materials such as handkerchiefs and dishtowels. Cane’s Toiles Découpées (Cut Canvases) spilled onto the floor from their positions on the wall, aiming for simultaneous absorption and materiality. Supports/Surfaces: Objects of Knowledge will revisit these artists’ past work while also making note of the subtle evolution of their practices up through the present day.

Noël Dolla

Text by Françoise-Claire Prodhon, April 2001 :

“But this rigorous work, voluntarily without an identifiable brand image, which the artist simultaneously suggests is close to Barnett Newman and to Marcel Duchamp, operates without absolute affirmation, running counter to any demonstrative desire. Dolla is not a lesson giver, he works with uncertainty, he questions the way we look, our point of view as spectators (literally and figuratively). He forces us to approach painting in a multiplicity of possible spaces (frontal to the wall, in the scale of a room or a landscape he presents, on the surface of an object); he makes us no longer consider the activity of the artist solely from the aspect of a production of images, or a simple exercise in style on a flat surface…
Dolla likes to work what he calls his “domestic side”: he uses modest and familiar objects which are those of everyday life for a housewife, the house painter, or angler. This vocabulary, set up since the late sixties, enables him to revive painting by exploring its topicality: the Géant flannel attributed to Chrons on which he wipes his brushes to the point of saturating it with material and colour, tells us as much about painting and its relationship to its time as a work by a master in a museum…”

‘In my work with tarlatan. I make use of resist colouring applied by roller and with overlaid layers from which escape the figuration of my lines, agglutinations, internal rhymes, dilutions, etc…, there too, I appreciate the scope of an object in which what is important to me is its figurality, extension, the reserve or application in the colour-field.

Extract from “Noël Dolla”, interview by Bernard Lamarche-Vadel,
in +-0, n.15, December 1976, p. 39.

He says: I roll, soak, unroll, cut, rub, tear,
Fold, glue, tear, build, dig, sow colour in the folds of the form.

Extract from “Il dit”, Noël Dolla, 5 March 1980, in +-0, n.31, December 1980, p. 27.

Tarlatan – ‘a very light cotton fabric, loosely woven but with plenty of dressing’ – first appeared in the works of Noël Dolla in late 1969. At the “Supports/Surfaces” exhibition at the Théâtre de Nice (June 1971), bands of tarlatan marked with points were laid out in space like a wave or like a string of lights undulating in the draughts over a space of about twenty metres. Hung along a wall, the colour dyeing the edges of the cotton became the ‘floating, free, fluid frame’ of a canvas freed of its stretcher. Dipped in successive baths of colour, once unrolled from ceiling to floor, the tarlatan revealed its mottled shades (1975-1976). Soaked, unrolled, cut, folded, assembled, glued, it now offered complex compositions of various shapes and dimensions (1979-1980).
In 1972, severely tried and filled with remorse for his participation in the ’72/72 – Twelve years of contemporary art in France” exhibition at the Grand Palais, Noël Dolla closed in on an intimate practice, the making of colourful flies (lures) and photographic work in various cemeteries that would result in the video Love Song (1973-1976). He closed in on himself, but also worked on one of the essential components of painting: colour.
One year after the ‘Admission free but not compulsory’ exhibition at Villa Arson (June-October 2013) and after a year of reflection on his work, Noël Dolla revived an ancient gesture in the form of folds. Folds/wrinkles on and towards a practice left fallow for a long time. Travel, trips/returns, questioning within the problem of turning in on oneself. The recent paintings, purposely entitled ‘Folds & withdrawals’, synthesise, condense, develop and unfold all his earlier experiments and the problem of an artist who has worked for over forty years “in the spirit of abstraction”.

Tarlatane, 1970 Acrylique sur tarlatane Acrylic on tarlatan 2000 x 20 cm 787.4 x 7.9 in

Afterimage, Vol. 46, Number 2

Exhibition Review: Andrew Norman Wilson: Kodak

Andrew Norman Wilson: Kodak. Document. Chicago, Illinois: January 11–February 23, 2019| By Liz Park

Image 1. Still from Kodak (2018) by Andrew Norman Wilson; © 2018 Andrew Norman Wilson; courtesy the artist and DOCUMENT.

 

Andrew Norman Wilson’s thirty-two-minute video Kodak (2018) was the beating heart of his eponymous exhibition at DOCUMENT in Chicago. A series of prints that take inspiration from various Kodak products hung in an adjacent gallery while a stack of giveaway posters—of the company’s first digital camera from 1973 printed on recto and a text by Nick Irvin on verso—prepared those who entered a dark, curtained gallery. Irvin’s text introduced the video’s protagonist Rich as a mentally unstable former Kodak employee who became blind as a result of a workplace accident. These details emerge slowly, however, and in short bursts, like flickers of images that stitch together the stories of the character Rich and Kodak’s legendary founder George Eastman [Image 1].

“Your time is up,” alerts the high-pitched and tinny voice of a woman, beginning a narrative that is driven primarily by sound rather than images. A long minute passes with only darkness to accompany her increasingly aggravated chastising, dramatically peaking with “You have to stop now!” The first discernable image finally surfaces—a portrait of a bespectacled Eastman. A shaky voice that stands in for Eastman implores, “What is a photograph?” He answers himself: “. . . a dream, a reminder of how little you can actually capture.” Responsible for popularizing photography through consumer-grade technology, Eastman, as recorded in history and presented in this well-researched video, successfully tapped into the consumer’s desire to hold onto the fleeting moments of their mortal lives. Spiked with nostalgia, Eastman’s steady ruminations on life, photographic processes, and his business empire provide […]

Read the complete article here.

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DOCUMENT is a commercial gallery located in Chicago that specializes in contemporary photography, film and media based art. The gallery has organized more than 40 solo exhibitions since its opening in 2011 and actively promotes the work of emerging national and international artists. Operating conjointly as a professional printmaking studio, DOCUMENT facilitates the production of works by artists from Chicago and the US. At this time we do not accept unsolicited submissions.